Is "Pirates of the Caribbean" star Johnny Depp looking for buried treasure on Seattle's nightclub scene?
Specifically, is he interested in buying the Crocodile Cafe?
Several Seattle blog sites have been circulating a rumor that Depp plans to buy the Croc, which abruptly closed in December.
"It's going around the streets of Seattle like wildfire that Johnny Depp is going to buy the old Crocodile Cafe and make it much, much cooler (and hotter) than it ever was before," read a posting on Seattle-based Culture Mob.
Sound far-fetched? It probably is.
Laura Miller, the agent representing the Crocodile, reacted to the Depp rumor with surprise.
"Well, that sounds exciting," she said Monday. "I'm not aware of that."
Miller was tight-lipped when pressed. The Crocodile's owner, Stephanie Dorgan, has instructed her not to say much to the media about the storied Seattle nightclub.
"What I can say is that I've not spoken to (Depp), and I'm not aware of (a sale) being a possibility."
If Depp were to buy the Crocodile, it wouldn't be the first time a celebrity bought at stake in a Seattle club. Actor John Corbett ("Northern Exposure," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") was once a co-owner of the Fenix Underground and occasionally bartended on Wednesday nights.
Perhaps helping to fuel the rumor, posted on several Seattle blog sites, is that Depp recently sold his share of the Viper Room, the Hollywood nightclub where his friend, actor River Phoenix collapsed and died in 1993.
But it's the Viper Room's new owner, Pink Taco founder Harry Morton (whose father, Peter Morton, founded the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino), who hopes to open Viper Rooms in other cities, the Los Angeles Times has reported. Could the Crocodile be among them? Again, it's a stretch.
Depp, who lives in France with French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, owns a vineyard north of Saint-Tropez. Depp also owns a Paris restaurant and bar with Sean Penn, John Malkovich and Mick Hucknall.
According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board, there are no pending liquor license applications for the Crocodile. In March, Groupee Venues Inc., a privately held, Seattle-based Internet software company, withdrew its application for a "spirits, beer and wine restaurant and lounge license" at the site.
Seattle clubgoers continue to obsess over the fate of the Crocodile, where such famous bands as R.E.M., Nirvana, Hole, the Beastie Boys and many others performed.
"I think it had a nice long run," drummer Jason Finn of the Presidents of the United States of America said in March, adding, "There are plenty of places to play. No one there was really happy as far as I could tell. My friends who worked there forever had kind of this haunted look."
In another twist, the Crocodile is among the Seattle clubs that would likely need a costly fire-sprinkler system if it were to continue to operate as a nightclub in its current configuration. Washington State clubs have until December 2009 to install fire-suppression systems. Check out our original story on the subject from 2006.
Public Enemies Filming wraps up in Columbus, Ohio
Goodbye, Johnny: Area filming of "Public Enemies" wraps up today
By Jen McCoy, Daily Register
COLUMBUS — Johnny Depp hung from Cher Limle's earlobes Monday during filming of "Public Enemies."
Limle stood on the corner of South Charles Street with a "Pirates of the Caribbean" backpack that held a cross-stitch of Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Fanning out the cloth, other Depp fans did a double-take at the realism of the embroidery.
"From across the street I thought she was holding up a photo," said Craig Rohloff of Columbus.
Depp's image was on Limle's earrings, T-shirt and lapel buttons. She plans on framing the cross-stitch to hang on her wall at home in Appleton.
"It took me six months to do this," Limle said. "I have been a fan of his for 20 years because something about him really captured me."
Limle was at the Columbus filming in March and in Oshkosh last month, but was not able to get a good look at Depp. However, only about 40 people showed up to watch a bordello scene shot at 314 S. Charles St. on Monday, so Limle had an easier time seeing her favorite actor in the flesh.
Michael Mann is the director of "Public Enemies," which is expected to be a summer 2009 blockbuster. Depp plays 1930s gangster John Dillinger, who in scenes shot Monday visited the bordello with his gang members Martin Zarkovich (played by John Michael Bolger), Homer Van Meter (played by Stephen Dorff), John "Red" Hamilton (played by Jason Clarke), and Pete Pierpont (played by David Wenham).
The gang was welcomed into the bordello by a bank teller named Anna Patzke (played by Emilie de Ravin), as a couple dozen onlookers leaned on a Columbus police squad car with cameras in hand.
The film crew will be in Beaver Dam today and return to Columbus tonight, according to Adam Boor, location scout for "Public Enemies." Depp should also be in town for the scene, Boor said, although which scene and what time the filming will begin was not released.
Filming in Wisconsin likely will wrap up this week before film crews head to Chicago to shoot through the end of June.
Pastor Paul Schupmann and Pastor Paul Hirsch, both of St. John's Lutheran Church in Juneau, watched quietly from a driveway across from the "bordello," actually a home owned by the Posers.
"It's interesting and fun to be here as a gawker," Hirsch said. "I have three girls who are 'Pirates of the Caribbean' heads."
Asked if the filming will make it into the Sunday sermon, Schupmann said he could try.
"I could see all the people in the crowd coming to see Jesus, and all these people coming here to see Johnny Depp," Schupmann said.
Hana Poser, granddaughter of Mary Poser, was inside the home during filming.
"It's really busy, and I have been pointing them to where the bathroom is," Poser, 21, said.
Dick Mortimer, who lives a few houses away from the Poser residence, was Columbus School District administrator until 1985.
"When they (the film crew) were here before (in March), I probably had 250 to 300 people on my lawn," Mortimer said.
The most social and frequently seen staple on set was Vinnie Jae, a standby painter for the film. Jae, a tall and friendly figure to the crowds, biked from one location to another with a paint bucket in his bicycle basket. He was painting the white wheels to black on the period cars, and dusted them with "effects dust" to give the illusion of a well-used automobile.
Jae is also a magician on set who can paint anything to satisfy the director.
"Say we don't want this street to be South Lewis Street, we want it to be Jae Street. I can do that. If the flowers aren't yellow enough, I can do that," said Jae, of Ojai, Calif.
Ron Dewoskin of Madison watched his 1932 Buick 90 Series get black wheels and a coat of dust. He resembled a nervous father in a delivery waiting room.
"I could cry," Dewoskin said, at the sight of the mint car's dust job.
Dewoskin, who was also in Madison for the filming at the Capitol last week, said he got instructions from his wife about Johnny Depp.
"I saw him from about 30 or 40 yards away, and my wife wants me to be sure to invite him to dinner," Dewoskin said.
A crowd of 30 people followed the cast back to Water Street at lunch to catch a signature wave from Depp. Actors Stephen Dorff and John Michael Bolger signed autographs and posed for pictures with the public, as fellow actor Christian Stolte took photographs of the crowd. After an hour and a half, Depp emerged from his trailer, stood up on the running board of the black sport utility vehicle and waved. As he sat in the back of the tinted car, he rolled down the window and waved at the line of people on Water Street.
"It was worth the wait," one woman sighed.